Houston Texans owner Bob McNair apologized, but his regrettable comments won’t be forgotten by his players that easily.
McNair reportedly said, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison” during last week’s meetings between players and owners over the national anthem issue. McNair said he was using a figure of speech, but anyone should be able to understand why players wouldn’t be so quick to forgive.
The Texans considered a walkout Friday, according to Sarah Barshop of ESPN, and star receiver DeAndre Hopkins did leave. Texans coach Bill O’Brien said Hopkins took a “personal day” after he wasn’t seen at practice. Yahoo Sports’ Shalise Manza Young reports that Hopkins left the building due to McNair’s comments, according to a source. According to Manza Young, O’Brien and general manager Rick Smith met with the players over McNair’s comments.
Barshop also reported the Texans are planning something before Sunday’s game at Seattle but are unsure what that will be. Manza Young reported one possibility is some Texans could take the logo off their helmets.
“This is bigger than just the protests,” Brown said about McNair’s comments, according to Barshop. “This is the view of player-owner relationship. This is how you view us. You’re an inmate, we can’t let you guys out of line. We can’t let you speak for yourself. We can’t let you have your own beliefs. That’s what it feels like. It’s a bad situation.”
This is not a story that will go away simply because McNair put out a public apology. Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green said on Instagram he thought McNair’s comments were “Donald Sterling-esque,” referring to the disgraced former Los Angeles Clippers owner. McNair’s comments drew an immediate and intense reaction, adding another layer to an already uncomfortable divide between players and owners.
Now McNair has angered at least a good number of his players, and they reportedly had to be convinced to not walk off the job Friday. His star receiver and one of the Texans’ most recognizable players did leave without practicing.
His apology was a step, but far from the final one if he wants to resolve a suddenly divisive situation.
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